Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Do’s and Don’ts of Strawberry Picking

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Ah, strawberries! Only 55 calories per cup, this perfect fruit is a superb source of Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and fiber. Picking your own berries provides a fun activity for the entire family, and the berries are fresher and healthier than what you find in your local grocery store. Here are some guidelines for getting the most out of your strawberry picking experience:
Before you go

Call your orchard. Crops can be affected by weather (both rain and cooler temperature). When strawberries are in season, a large turnout can pick a field clean before noon. Ask your orchard if containers are provided and if there is a charge for them.

Leave early – it will be cooler and you will have a better chance of getting the best berries! Wear sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes. Bug spray is recommended and pack a lunch with plenty of water.

Strawberry Bar Soap
Picking Do’s

  • Pick only the berries that are fully red. Part the leaves with your hands to look for hidden berries.
  • Select plump, firm, fully red berries. Small berries are often most flavorful.
  • Watch your knees – be careful not to crush plants or fruit in or along the edge of the row.
  • Help your local farmer by removing berries showing rot, sunburn, insect injury or other defects. Place them between the rows behind you – left in the plants, the rot will quickly spread to other berries.
  • Do know your measurements: 1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups and is about the same as 1 liter and weighs 1.25 lbs. 1 quart is normally enough for 4 servings. If you do end up with too many, freeze the extra. Strawberries in the refrigerator will only last about 2 days and quickly mold at room temperature.
  • Do gently rinse the berries only as you need them at home.
Picking Don’ts

  • Do not pick unripe strawberries. Strawberries do not ripen on their own once they leave the plant.
  • Do not pile them too high: Heaping strawberries more than 5 inches deep will bruise the lower berries.
  • Do not place picked berries in the sunshine longer than necessary. It is better to put them in the shade of a tree or shed than in the car trunk or on the car seat. Cool them as soon as possible after picking.
  • Don’t wash the berries until you are ready to use them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling. Pour them out into shallow pans and remove any mushed, soft or rotting berries.
Strawberries Jar Candle
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam The nit-picking of picking

Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and the thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion.

With the stem broken about one-half inch from the berry, allow it to roll into the palm of your hand.

Carefully place – don’t throw – the fruit into your containers.

Drink lots of water if you are in the sun for most of the day.

Most importantly, have fun!

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Peppermint Bark

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

My neighbor’s 10-year-old daughter has gone wild with the baking this year. She brought a bag of peppermint bark for her teacher this morning and I’d thought I’d share her tasty success.

You Will Need:
8 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
8 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
25 peppermint candies, crushed


  1. Lightly grease pan and line with waxed paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside.
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate in a double boiler over just barely simmering water.
  3. Stir frequently and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching.
  4. When chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract.
  5. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom.
  6. Sprinkle half of the crushed peppermints over the chocolate layer.
  7. Refrigerate until completely hardened.
  8. Repeat steps 2-4 with white chocolate.
  9. Pour the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy over the top and gently press in.
  11. Refrigerate until completely hardened.
  12. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve.

Scalloped Tier TrayPie Recipe Flour Sifters

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Crispy Rice Worm Treats

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Bunny PotholderCelebrate Keep Kids Creative Week with this fun twist on crispy rice cereal treats. There are a lot of variations on the crispy rice treat recipe. Use your favorite, or you can use this one.

You Will Need:
1/4 C butter
5 C crispy rice cereal
1 10oz pkg. marshmallows
fruit leather
plastic wrap
googly eyes
pipe cleaners

Melt butter.
Add marshmallows and melt.
Add crispy rice and mix well.
Spread into a lightly greased pan.
Using buttery hands, mold the rice mixture into worm shapes.
Add three strips of fruit leather to each worm.
Secure overlapping ends with a dot of water.
Wrap worms in plastic wrap.
Add two googly eyes to each.
Loop a pipe cleaner around the worm’s neck and twist it together at the top.
Curl the ends into antennae.

Popcorn MakerPeace Lady Apron

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